University of Johannesburg player Wian Conradie showed he wasn’t just a star on the rugby field by being recognised for his academic achievements as well at the varsity this year.
When the annual awards gala function was held in October, the 24-year-old flank was the runner-up in the sportsman of the year category.
But even more pleasing for him was the gold medal he received for being UJ’s student-athlete of the year, which incorporates academic excellence and sporting achievement.
Over four years, excluding 2018, Conradie averaged 79.2% in his quantity surveying course and represented the UJ first rugby team in the Varsity Cup.
During this time, he also turned out for Namibia at the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
Despite being in the running for the student-athlete award in previous years – he received bronze and silver medals in the category – Conradie said it was a big surprise to receive the gold medal.
“To get it in my final year was a real cherry on the top,” he said.
Although rugby is a big part of his life, Conradie said it was always his goal to complete his education first.
“I always felt it was essential to get a qualification for the days after rugby and it was quite hard juggling all my commitments,” he said.
He added, though, that he received plenty of support from his mentors at UJ, both academically and on the sports field, which helped him to cope with the load.
“At the end of it all there is a lot of satisfaction at what I have managed to achieve.”
After five years at UJ, he said he had good memories of his time in Johannesburg.
“I started out with the Young Guns and then when I progressed to the Varsity Cup squad it was a major stepping stone,” he said.
“Playing under coach Werner Janse van Rensburg was a great privilege and we worked hard from day one, placing massive focus on our fitness.
“From coming to Johannesburg when I knew absolutely no one to making so many friends means it has been a really special journey for me at UJ.”